Saturday, August 2, 2008

PhD position at Leiden Observatory on extrasolar planets

PhD position at Leiden Observatory on extrasolar planets

A 4-year PhD position is available at Leiden Observatory in the field of extrasolar planets. The student will search for and characterise planets transiting cool red dwarf stars. Planet transits have proven to give unique and extraordinary insights into the physical and atmospheric properties of hot, gaseous giant planets. Transits of much smaller, potentially rocky planets (such as the Earth) can be studied towards red dwarf stars. This is possible due to the significantly smaller size of these cool dwarfs compared to stars of solar type. Several planets have recently been discovered around red dwarfs, including a Super-Earth (possibly within the star's habitable zone), and one transiting hot Neptune. Now is the time to specifically target red dwarfs for transits, and utilise the full potential of the transit method. The student will mainly be working on analysis and follow-up of the WFCAM M-dwarf Transit Survey, which has been awarded 200 nights of observing time on the 4m UKIRT telescope to our international team.

For this project we seek excellent and enthusiastic candidates, who are highly interested in observational astronomy. The astronomy department at Leiden is internationally oriented and hosts about 40 graduate students of several nationalities. Further information about the department can be found at

Applicants should contact Dr. Snellen at the address below for further information. Applicants should have, or soon obtain, a masters degree in astronomy or in physics with a strong astronomy component. Complete applications, including curriculum vitae (with a list of courses and grades), two letters of reference, and a letter explaining your interest in the project, should be sent by the 8st of September 2008 to:

Dr. Ignas Snellen,
Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9512, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
tel: +31 71 527 5838;
fax: +31 71 527 5819

Posted with permission from Dr. Snellen